A state senator is one of five candidates seeking to fill a vacancy on the school board for the troubled Adams 14 school district.
Dominick Moreno, a Democratic state senator whose district includes most of Adams 14, will be among the candidates the board will interview for the position on July 9.
Moreno said he got a legal opinion from legislative services that states he can serve on a local school board while maintaining his seat as a state senator.
The other candidates include:
- Joseph Dreiling, who previously served on the Commerce City planning commission and on the Adams 14 board, when he filled an earlier vacancy
- Angela Vizzi, a parent who has served on the District Accountability Advisory Committee
- Cynthia J.S. Meyers
- Andrew LaCrue, a dean of students/athletic director with Denver Public Schools
The vacancy was created two weeks ago when then-board president Timio Archuleta abruptly resigned, citing the need for new voices and opinions on the board.
Many parents and advocates celebrated the resignation, saying it brought hope that the district, which has had made several unpopular decisions in the last year, would listen to the community and change. Adams 14 is facing state intervention after years of low performance and has experienced significant staff turnover in the last year.
The board, by law, has 60 days to fill the vacancy. The board is currently scheduled to vote on July 9 after the candidate interviews. The selected candidate will serve out Archuleta’s term until the next election in November 2019.
Moreno, who graduated from Adams City High School, has been a vocal supporter of the district throughout their turnaround process.
“Obviously the district is at a critical juncture on the accountability clock, and there’s been some unrest in the community,” Moreno said Thursday. “I believed we needed candidates who could come on to the school board and have the relationships and the experience needed to pull everybody together with a common vision.”
Moreno said he didn’t have any strong opinions on the controversial decisions the district has made this past year, including the pause of a biliteracy program, saying only that he would have a lot of homework to do if appointed and that every decision would be reviewed.
In the legislature, Moreno served on the influential Joint Budget Committee and sponsored legislation that required schools to serve breakfast to students from low-income families. He also supported a bill last year that created the opportunity for school districts to offer the seal of biliteracy, an additional endorsement on high school diplomas for students who could demonstrate fluency in two languages. Adams 14 was one of the first three districts to offer the seal, and it is still one of the components of its bilingual education program.
The school district posted the list of candidates Thursday evening.
Meanwhile, last week, the remaining four members of the district’s board voted to name Connie Quintana as the board’s president in a long process that included two failed attempts to reach a decision. Board member Bill Hyde criticized the process as a “circus.”